Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Latin Grammys 2010

Rewind! Did you miss the Latin Grammys? Did you even know they happened? Well here's a brief recap of what you missed from the 11th Annual Latin Grammys in Las Vegas.

Plenty of artists mentioned on Radio Chevere won some awards this past Thursday, and there were quite a few new faces as well. Latin Grammy veteran Juan Luis Guerra walked away with Album of the Year for A Son De Guerra, and Cuban-Canadien Alex Cuba was recognized as Artist of the Year. Cuba is anything but a newbie, and I'll have more on him later.

Radio Chevere favorite Mala Rodriguez won Best Urban Song for her "No Pidas Perdon." Even better, she joined Nelly Furtado (and the Jabbawockeez??) to perform "Bajo Otra Luz". Mala wasn't the only winner on stage, because Ms. Furtado claimed Best Female Pop Artist for her Spanish-language album Mi Plan.

But my personal favorite of the night was Chino y Nacho. First of all, the fact that there's a duo named Chino y Nacho cracks me up, and secondly, their award-winning song "Niña Bonita" is so darn catchy. And I wouldn't consider this pair to be a passing phase, because they beat Daddy Yankee and Mala Rodriguez in the Best Urban Album category.

It's great to see so much talent continuing to flow out of the Spanish-speaking mainstream, and it's even better not seeing any Justin Bieber equivalents. Zing!

Come back to Radio Chevere for more insights into artists like Alex Cuba, Choc Quib Town, Camila and Banda el Recodo.

-DJ Gringuito

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Merida's Music Drama

Dayron y El Boom used to be the biggest fish in Mérida's local music pond. Now that I'm back in the city, I've learned that the two are now separate. The "y" is gone.

When they were together, the Cuban/Mexican band practically owned Mambo Cafe, the city's prime salsa club. Check out this video of them performing their hit "El Baile de las Nenas."

Rumor has it that the group split up because lead singer Dayron Núñez was ready for his solo career. Not wanting to lose fans, the rest of the band just kept the name El Boom, and added La Mezcla Perfecta. Dayron is seen as the bad guy, but naming yourself "the perfect mix" won't earn you any sympathy points.

So where are they now?

Dayron's solo career didn't last long. He joined fellow Cuban cantante Alejandro "El Baby" González to form the duo Dayron y Baby. It appears Dayron dropped a fantastic salsa orquestra for a twin, and their song "Contra la Pared" is auto-tuned to the point where they sound like Wisin y Yandel, or any other duo out right now. But it has nothing on the action-packed live performance in Mérida less than a year ago. Here's their spastic performance of "Exa."

El Boom seems to be doing just as well without their charismatic frontman, because now they have four. Several members from the band now share the role that was once held by one half of the rising star that is Dayron y Baby.

The band continued to play at Mambo Cafe until it was shut down for serving minors and drug charges.* Here's the band moving the club with "Gran Lanzamiento". El Boom now has a music video too. Check out "Niña," which was shot right here in Mérida.

With Dayron in Cuba, and El Boom still in Mérida, I have to declare El Boom: La Mezcla Perfecta the winner. It's a shame though, because the fans are the biggest losers. Dayron y el Boom used to put on one helluva show.

*I now live within walking distance of where Mambo Cafe used to thrive. The thought of walking to a salsa club to drink, dance and enjoy a night out, then walking home to my bed is like a dream...one that'll never be fulfilled.

Oh well!
Dj Gringuito

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What a Weekend!

This weekend in Merida, Mexico was full of live music, and there was enough variety to please everyone.


The city held a free concert in the downtown market area Thursday night. I had no idea what to expect, but I figured I should check it out. I didn't know what to expect, but I would have never guessed a Spanish Ska band to be playing.

The highlight of the show was definitely the mini mosh pit. I used to worry about not being able to dance as well as so many of the smooth operators I've seen in Mexico. But after watching a bunch of sweaty, rhythm-less goobers bounce around, I feel great about myself.


The soon-to-be forgotten duo of LMFAO landed in Merida this weekend and they brought their catalog of enlightening tracks with them. In fact, the posters around town read "I'm in Merida, Bitch." Oh, how clever!

I'm not sorry to say that I missed them squeeze the last remaining seconds out of their fifteen minutes. Even though concert tickets only cost 200 pesos ($16.60), I refused to support the talentless, electro-pop buffoons.* Simple as that.

*Too strong?


Some legitimate musicians stopped in Merida this weekend, too. Belanova came to town! I wanted to go, but a $50 ticket price was a bit steep for me. Especially if I was going to be a third-wheel.

My roommate went though, and he said it was a blast. He scored seventh row seats and took some great pictures. I really can't say much about the show, so I've invited him to write a guest blog / review about it. Look for that in the next day or two. Until then, here's another concert pic...

That's all for now!
- DJ Gringito

Monday, September 27, 2010

¡Qué dúo!

Two mega music stars of the Hispanic world are shining together. Juan Luis Guerra joins Enrique Iglesias to deliver the one song to rule all others during my time in Mexico.

"Cuando Me Enamoro" is a love song like any other. And with a title of "When I Fall in Love", these guys don't even bother with innuendos.

So why bother mentioning it?

Because pairing the sweet voices of Iglesias and Guerra is enough to make the biggest macho man ask for a hug. Okay, maybe not a hug. But I've seen plenty of guys singing along to this song as if it's their anthem. Even I've joined in during the chorus, because damn if it isn't catchy.

The song is from Enrique's newest album, Euphoria. If the lovely duet with Guerra isn't your style, then give "I Like It" a listen. With Pitbull at his side, Enrique rocks the club scene with the first single from his new album.

"Cuando Me Enamoro" is the perfect track for all the hopeless romantics out there, and "I Like It" was made for a little grind time in the clubs. Oh Enrique, is there anything he can't do?

- DJ Gringuito

Friday, September 10, 2010

Los Discos

Greetings, Rock Lobsters, from the wonderful Mexican state of Yucatán! I'm here for an internship with a TV news station, but that's not important. You're here for music.

Throwing a curveball your way, this post is dedicated to my adventure at a Mexican dance club. Nearly three years after my first "disco" experience, I still enjoyed the heart-pounding house music and American pop remixes...

I was glad to see that the many “discos” of Mérida continued to profit in my absence. Traveling down Paseo Montejo (the main drag of the city), I could see crowds of teens, twenty-somethings and adults.

Yes, it is possible to spot a handful of middle-aged men posted at the bar. Once they grab their drinks, they circle the club with heads a bobbin’ and chest hair a poppin’. It would be creepy, if it weren’t so entertaining to watch.

From that description, it should be obvious that I enjoy people-watching. But, boy, are the tables turned when I walk in a club. It definitely has nothing to do with my style or dance moves, though. I just happen to be taller and whiter than everyone else. And, did I mention, less coordinated on the dance floor?

All right, that’s enough self-deprication for now. Friday night my roommate and I met some of his friends at Tequila. You’re right to assume from the name that Tequila is not a family establishment.

If you want to know how my night ended, you can finish the story at The Yucatán Diaries. It's my own blog covering my many adventures in Mexico.

-DJ Gringuito

Monday, June 21, 2010

Toy Story 3

Yes, merely a week after my goodbye, I've returned to Radio Chevere. But for good reason, I swear. If you haven't seen Toy Story 3 yet, feel free to continue reading. The minor details I'm about to release have no effect on the movie's plot.

In the heat of the rising action, a dramatic switch changes everyone's favorite space ranger, Buzz Lightyear. His reset switch literally transforms Buzz Lightyear into his Spanish-language equivalent. Hilarity ensues!

More blog-worthy, however, is the movie's ending credits. The Gipsy Kings blast a flamenco-fused version of Randy Newman's Oscar-nominated "You've Got a Friend in Me" while Buzz and Jessie tear up the game room floor with a toy-sized dance. Check out the Gipsy Kings perform the song live on Dancing with the Stars! Don't be too impressed though, those professional dancers have got nothing on the Toy Story steppers.

Aqui todavia,
DJ Gringuito

Monday, June 7, 2010

La Despedida

When the lovely people at ACRN first asked me to blog about Spanish music, I was baffled that someone would actually come to me for anything music-related. Let's be honest, nobody knows music like my fellow Rock Lobsters.

My shallow grasp of the Spanish-language music scene was enough for my first couple weeks of blogging. Soon after, I had to search the interwebs for new music just to meet my weekly deadline. I'm happily did it though, because it made me a better blogger. The better understanding has me finally feeling like a true langosta.

Nearly six months after it's inception, Radio Chevere is still going strong. If you haven't learned anything; too bad, because I know I have. But the weekly Spanish lessons are coming to end. As an alum, I will be out of the Lobster-loop. :(

Ending on a happy note, I'm going to Mexico in September! I'll be down there for an internship, but you can be sure that I'll be enjoying the music scene. Who knows, I just might be back for a couple random updates. Hasta luego, familia.

Nos vemos,
DJ Gringuito

Monday, May 31, 2010

Musica Gratis!

All right langostinas, LobsterFest is upon us. I'm sure you're already being bombarded with festival info, so I'll keep this brief.

Make sure you stop by the ACRN booth at LobsterFest, because there will be FREE iTunes download cards for the first 100 fest-goers. The lovely people at Nacional Records provided me with the cards that are wonderful little portals to new Spanish-language music.

This is your opportunity to legally obtain singles from the artists I've blogged about like Manu Chao and Ana Tijoux. More importantly, you can check out artists I haven't covered like Quiero Club and Los Amigos Invisibles. Here's the track list:

1. Pacha Massive - If You Want It (Ga Ga Tech Mix) [feat. Rita Indiana]
2. Cuarto Poder - Solo Tu Tienes La Llave
3. Ana Tijoux - 1977
4. Los Rakas - Lo Mucho Que Te Quiero
5. Hello Seahorse! - Bestia (Julieta Venegas Remix)
6. Choc Quib Town - De Donde Vengo Yo
7. Latin Bitman - Help Me (Feat. Francisca Valenzuela)
8. Mexican Institute of Sound - Yo Digo Baila
9. Tonino Carotone - Amar y Vivir
10. Los Fabulosos Cadillacs - Vamos Ya (Curtis Mayfield Cover)
11. Fidel Nadal - Emocionado
12. Matorralman - El Taxi del Mañana
13. Tom Tom Club - Genius of Love (The Pinker Tones Remix)
14. Manu Chao - Clandestino (Live)
15. Maldita Vecindad - Fut Callejero (Pura Diversion)
16. Banda de Turistas - Lo Comandas
17. La Bien Querida - 9.6
18. Los Amigos Invisibles - Vivire Para Ti (Feat. Natalia Lafourcade)
19. Misterio (feat. Senor Flavio of Los Fabulosos Cadillacs) - La Momia Negra
20. Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich+Fussible – Manuel Santillan, El Leon (Los Fabulosos Cadillacs Cover)
21. Nortec Collective Presents: Clorofila - "BabyRock" Rock
22. Quiero Club - It's All About Dun Dun
23. Furland - Colores Colores Colores

Nos vemos a LobsterFest,
DJ Gringuito

Monday, May 24, 2010

Maluca, Presente!

Maybe springtime is to blame for my recent focus on the opposite sex. Maybe I'm connecting with my inner hermosa. Either way, the trend continues with Maluca!

Coming out of the Dominican Republic by way of NYC, Maluca's self-described "tropical, house, ghettotech" sound is attracting plenty of attention.

Check out this brief interview with the up-and-coming artists whose music is "a hodgepodge of everything that [she loves] about New York."

Maluca's music isn't all Spanish-language, so all listeners can enjoy her fresh new sound. Tracks like the hyper-meregnue "El Tigeraso" already have me convinced that I'll be picking up her mixed tape. Until then, I guess I'll have to settle for following her on Twitter while she tours Europe.

Hasta pronto,
DJ Gringuito

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Ven con Venegas

While researching Ana Tijoux, I stumbled upon Julieta Venegas. I first heard about this Mexican cantante during my time in Mérida. But my first exposure left me immediately refusing to listen to her music.

It all started when a friend of mine found Venegas' song "Limon y Sal". It's a cute pop song about Julieta wanting her man "with lemon and salt," just like chelada beer. Oh how fun! But a thousand listens later, I was burnt out and uninterested in the rest of her work.

What a mistake! Her sweet voice could warm even the crankiest curmudgeon's heart (mine after hearing "Limon y Sal" numerous times a day). With an award's list full of Latin Grammys, Latin VMAs and one Grammy for Best Latin Pop Album for Limon y Sal (aaahhh!).

As much as I complain about the catchy song, there are plenty of great tracks on the album. "Eres Para Mi" features the aforementioned emcee Ana Tijoux. When Tijoux couldn't make Venegas' MTV Unplugged show, La Mala Rodriguez filled the role and rocked the mic.

There's more to Venegas than her award-winning voice (and looks. Oh c'mon, I've made it this far without commenting on her natural beauty). Anyhow, prepare yourself for Venegas' squeezing an accordion for "Me Voy." Yes, an accordion! And you thought Feist was quirky!

Slow and simple lyrics make Venegas a great artist for beginning listeners and Spanish-speakers. Even if you don't understand her yet, her voice is sure to coo you to a sense of comfort and relaxation.

Estoy enamorado (otra vez),
DJ Gringuito

Monday, May 10, 2010

Buena Vista!

Stop the presses! I promised last week to elaborate on Ana Tijoux's new sound from Colombia, but this post demands immediate attention.

I finally watched the Buena Vista Social Club documentary. Whoa. Anyone who has the slightest interest in Spanish-language music MUST watch it. I mistakenly wrote about these talented musicians in previous entries, and even dedicated full posts to members Compay Segundo and Ibrahim Ferrer. Now, I apologize to the rest of the collective.

Listening to the album, I always assumed that the major players of the group were the ones I highlighted. I was wrong. From the pianist Rubén González to the bass player Orlando "Cachaíto" López, the documentary showcases each member individually. The documentary essentially proves that Buena Vista Social Club is Ry Cooder's attempt to create a super group of all the Cuban greats who never had the chance to collaborate.

In case this realization wasn't enough to make my weekend, the cinematography of the documentary is incredible. Each shot is slow and winding in order to convey the untouched beauty of our forgotten, forbidden neighbor.

Check it out on YouTube. Advertisements cut in every now and then, and sometimes the video just stops. Simply refresh the page and pick up where you left off.

Siempre aprendiendo,
DJ Gringuito

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Nueva Reina de Hiphop?

Do you know what comes from Chile? If you said hip-hop, by golly, you're right! Earlier this week, Chilean hip-hop artist Ana Tijoux's new album 1977 hit the U.S.

I'll save her background info for next week, and keep this post brief. Long story short, Tijoux has already toured the U.S. once, so 1977 is already attracting plenty of attention state-side.

The Austin Chronicle says Tijoux rhymes with, "wicked wordplay and effortless flow." Proving that the U.S. is a black hole for talent, the Los Angeles Times calls Tijoux, "one of South America's best-regarded MCs, male or female."

Until I drop some biographical knowledge on ya, check out her new single "1977." If that's not enough, here's a live performance of it too!

Estoy enamorado,
DJ Gringuito

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Velvety Ones

Los Aterciopelados are not to be considered plush and snugly, as their velvety-name suggests. This electro-punk-indigenous rock duo is focused on making changes to more than just the music scene.

Andrea Echeverri and Hector Buitrago first joined (strictly artistic) forces in 1992. Nearly two decades later, Aterciopelados has produced eight albums, earned several awards and gained international attention.

In fact, the band's first single "Bolero Falaz" was an instant hit. I'm sure the music video's animation sequences (foreshadowing future videos) added to the song's attractiveness. Always astute about music videos, MTV noticed the band and recorded their "Unplugged" set in 1997.

Fast-forward a couple of years, and Aterciopelados is now the Latin Grammy Award-winning Best Rock Group, an honor they received for their fifth studio album, Gozo Poderoso. The Latin Grammys continued when the duo won Best Alternative Album for Oye in 2007.

Oye solidified Aterciopelados' presence in Colombian politics. Tracks like "Don Dinero" have listeners questioning whether money truly is the answer to all of our problems, and the music video fits in the same aisle as Manu Chao's "Me Gustas Tu." Their protest song titled "Cancion Protesta" attracted international attention when Amnesty International gave the band an escopeterra for its awareness efforts. Other artists to receive the symbol of non-violence include Juanes and Manu Chao. Best of all, you can see it in the music video!

Aterciopelados' newest album, Rio, maintains the conscious message backed by ethereal, electro-funk sounds. The title track speaks of the struggle for native Colombians to have the fundamental right to clean-water access. Both members are more than just spokespeople for a problem. While floating down the Bogota River, they actually collected 2 million signatures in order to propel a clean water referendum to the next stage in the lengthy, bureaucratic process. Take that, Bono!

If you're still interested in what these progressive powerhouses sound like, check out these two tracks. One is quintessential fierce Aterciopelados, while the other shows the band's softer (yet equally enjoyable) side.

Nos vemos en Colombia,
DJ Gringuito

Monday, April 19, 2010

Conscious Colombian Pop

Cocaine and Colombia are perpetually linked. No matter how well the War on Drugs is (or isn't) working, the country cannot shake the stigma. But that's just the most publicized of the country's problems.

If history has taught us anything, it's that music has the power to change the status quo. From John Lennon's "Imagine" to N.W.A.'s "Fuck tha Police," music is always at the forefront of serious issues.

Well, one politically-conscious band has been speaking out against the country's faults for more than a decade. This week Radio Chevere is spotlighting the wild sounds of Aterciopelados. Come back soon for an in-depth look at what has the whole world looking at this dynamic duo.

No usa mota,
DJ Gringuito

Sunday, April 11, 2010

El Bonnaroo

Ohio University's commencement is set for June 12. Great news to all graduating Bobcats, but bad news for any
Bonnaroo fans. You're probably wondering why Radio Chevere cares about a music festival in Tennessee.

This year, the four-day fest spotlights a
Latino Alternativo Tent. Bonnaroo is always changing tent themes, and this year happens to be el año más interesante.

Concertgoers will be able to see Jay-Z, Conan O'Brien and Ozomatli all in the
same weekend. Other Latino acts include Los Amigos Invisibles and Aterciopelados. Just more progress for el mundo de la musica Hispanica!

Viva las Vegas,
DJ Gringuito

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Musica del Restaurante

So I didn't make it home for Easter this weekend. No biggie. My roommates and I founded our own Easter tradition: Drunk Mexican Easter!

We decided that the best place to celebrate la Pascua is at Gran Ranchero, the new Mexican restaurant on the block. While we sat around the chips, salsa y cerveza, I noticed the music playing through the establishment.

That's when I decided it was time to rank the Mexican restaurants in Athens by their musical selections! I'll work my way up to the champion.

3.) Casa Lopez: If this judgment was based on cuisine, Casa Lopez would easily walk away with the belt. However, I'm focusing on the restaurant's ability to satisfy my ears, not my taste buds.

Casa Lopez does not necessarily play bad music, but what music it does play is too quiet. Located far out on East State Street, Casa Lopez is the original family-friendly Mexican restaurant in town. This is likely the reason for the subdued tunes and muffled music.

2.) Gran Ranchero: I've only ventured to Gran Ranchero twice since its opening a few months ago, but that's all I need. This place is pretty spectacular. It easily boasts the best atmosphere of all.

Musically, Gran Ranchero does a nice job. The place has to have a great sound system to fill the massive space that is its dining area. Besides my Easter visit involving more Spanish Christian music than I would prefer to hear in a lifetime, both of my visits included solid sonidos.

1.) Rio Grande: It pains me to say it, but Rio Grande has the best Spanish-language music in Athens. The stomping ground for underage sorority sisters gulping down over-sized margaritas just so happens to bump the beats better than anybody else.

There might be telenovelas on the screens, but you can be sure that only the hottest reggaeton, ranchero y pop music is pouring through the speakers. I'm not a huge fan of the food, but then again, it's hard to mess up Mexican food. So tell your tummy what's comin', because Rio Grande is where la musica viva.

Tengo hambre,
DJ Gringuito

Monday, March 29, 2010


While most college students migrated south for Spring Break this past week, I took a different route. I went home to the exciting lands of Southwestern Pennsylvania and made quite a discovery.

Looking through some of my old Playstation 2 games, I found Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3. I remember it as a great series, but the third installment left me unsatisfied. That is, until I heard an Ozomatli track!

"Cut Chemist Suite" joins the likes of Del tha Funky Homosapien's "If You Must" and The Ramones "Blitzkrieg Bop." How chevere!

If you find any random Chevere tunes in video games or movies, be sure to let me know.

El patinador,
DJ Gringuito

Sunday, March 14, 2010

La Musica de Guerra

Juan Luis Guerra put the Dominican Republic on the musical map. His talent is comparable to Clapton and his image to Buffet. Guerra fuses styles like bachata and merengue to produce a smooth sound that pleases all ears.

The success started with Guerra's first hit single, "Ojalá Que Llueva Café." That's right, this guy's first step toward fame was with a song title "I Hope It Rains Coffee." But it's not all sunshine and coffee bean precipitate.

"El Costo de la Vida" attracted international attention for Guerra, but most of it was negative. The song's snappy horn section and general light feel mask the song's accusatory lyrics. A few roughly translated lines are "no one cares what you think, because you don't speak English" and "democracy
can't grow when corruption plays chess."

Guerra changed the pace with his next album, Fogaraté, with songs like "La Cosquillita," which translates to "The Little Tickle." Qué linda! If that doesn't put a smile on your face and a groove in your move, Guerra's got plenty more. The track "Viviré" is sure to make you hug the closest person to you.

If that's not enough lovey-dovey, warm n' fuzzy music, Guerra continued his bachata ballads with "Mi PC." This guy is so slick with the innuendos, he compares his lady to a computer. As cheesy as that sounds, I'm not even going to translate the lines about her "hard drive."

Guerra swooned more than just the ladies with his lyrics. La Llave de mi Corazón earned him Album, Record and Song of the Year in 2007. Guerra even reaches out to U.S. listeners with English songs like "Medicine for My Soul." Don't worry, songs like "Amores" maintain Guerra's tradition of upbeat, splashy tunes with enough horns to blow any non-believers to the back of the dance hall. Check out that "Amores" video, because Guerra often sings too fast and the lyrics are all listed on the video.

Eso es todo,
DJ Gringuito

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Panda Haters

Panda, written Pxndx, is a Spanish-language punk, emo, call-them-what-you-will band out of Mexico. They're the largest alternative band in Mexico and Latin America, and they enjoyed quite a bit of success until 2007. That's when the Pxndx hating began.

I first heard Pxndx right before all the accusations began. A friend gave me two of their top singles to check out. Now this isn't my usual style of music, but I thought I'd give it a try for the Spanish benefit. "Los Malaventuras No Lloran" is pretty catchy, and the pulsing bass line showed promise. Once I heard "Disculpa Los Malos Pensamientos," I immediately thought of Fall Out Boy, and there's the Pxndx problem.

At the height of Pxndx's popularity, someone accused the band of plagiarism and all hell broke loose. The band was allegedly ripping off U.S. acts like Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance and Sum 41. Green Day even went so far as to sue the Mexican rockers.

Fans became outraged and formed Anti-Pxndxs to protest the fallen musicians. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, bloggers spread the news across borders. One anti-fan compiled this audio sample of some of the supposedly stolen songs.

Whether you believe the accusations or not, you now know one thing. The next time you see this...
...you know that it has nothing to do with people supporting the extinction of big, fluffy Panda bears. Just make sure to turn down your speakers if you're blaring any Pxndx.

Eso es todo,
DJ Gringuito

Sunday, February 28, 2010


Now I'm sure you're all growing tired of all this Ozo-nonsense, but I'm still not done! By some magical wonder of the Internet, somebody in the music business noticed Radio Chevere.

A representative of Nacional Records in North Hollywood e-mailed me. So that puts my known readership at 1. Hooray!

Anyway, Nacional Records handles the distribution for several big name bands, like guess who? Ozomatli. Now that Radio Chevere has the hook up, I can tell you all about the hot new singles before they drop.

This week's single is "It's Only Paper."

Enjoy folks,
DJ Gringuito

Sunday, February 21, 2010


The band members of Ozomatli continued to change and so did their sound. By the time Don't Mess with the Dragon hit the scene in 2007, Ozomatli was appealing to more U.S. listeners.

Compared to their first album, Ozomatli drastically reduced the number of Spanish-language tracks. Their self-titled debut boasts nine songs with primarily Spanish lyrics. Don't Mess with the Dragon only has three. There's certainly nothing wrong with this change, but it does highlight a change in the band's intended demographic.

English Dragon
"Can't Stop" opens the album in typical Ozomatli style: upbeat rhythms, catchy hooks and a positive message. The good feeling continues with a light-hearted song about following that special girl once the night ends. "After Party" is Ozomatli's take on those cheesy, yet sweet, Motown classics of the 60s.

Spanish Dragon
There might only be three Spanish language tracks on Dragon, but they're all great. "La Temperatura" is true to Ozomatli's original sound of 21st century Spanish-language big band. "La Segunda Mano" shows audiences just how far this band has changed, musically. English rhymes flow over subliminal Spanish message, and it's all mixed together with a few DJ scratches. Finally, "La Gallina" is likely the most absurd song Ozomatli has created. And the video just adds to the confusion.

Now Ozomatli fans are left waiting for the next album. Lucky for this post's timing, the newest Ozo-album, Fire Away, will hit stores April 20 this year.

See you in line,
DJ Gringuito

Monday, February 15, 2010


I introduced you to the eclectic sounds of Ozomatli last week. Now it's time to breakdown the Ozo-sound and check out their debut album.

Ozomatli released their self-titled debut in 1998. More than 10 years later, the album is still satisfying fans around the globe. It opens with the live party-starting jam "Como Ves" and the excitement never drops.

"Eva" blends DJ scratching with flamenco guitar so well, you'd swear they were meant for each other. If you're not on your feet after these two tracks, the horn-driven, fast-paced "Chango" will have you shaking your pompita with no shame at all.

The album does actually have a calm moment. "Super Bowl Sundae" is as laid back as they come. Chali 2na rhymes over a sitar-led performance that provides the perfect theme song for any lazy weekend.

Finally, the one track that everyone can enjoy is "La Misma Cancion." This ranchero-inspired song satirizes those people who drown their sorrows in saloons while slamming tequila. Most ranchero songs all sound the same, and you can be sure that this one is no exception.

Next week we're fast forwarding to 2007,

-DJ Gringuito

Monday, February 8, 2010


This melting pot of musicians has been jamming for more than a decade. Their infusion of hip-hop, ranchero, reggae, salsa and funk allow this band to appeal to people around the world regardless of their music taste.

The Sound
Band members describe their music as when you "roll down your windows and the music that comes out of each and every different car... that crazy blend that's going on between that cacophony of sound is Ozomatli, y'know."

Pronounced "oh-so-motley." the band takes its name from the Aztec monkey servant to the god of music and dance. The band certainly lives up to the name with vocals, emcees, turntables and a horn section. It's like they have all the great parts from several musical styles.

Best of all, they've got plenty of songs in English too. This makes Ozomatli one of the best bands for non-native Spanish speakers to listen to when learning the language. Try it!

The Lineup
There are six key members to the band, but there have been up to 10 at one point. There have been more lineup changes in Ozomatli than the 2009 Pittsburgh Pirates. Two notable alumni include rapper Chalie 2na and DJ Cut Chemist, who both left the group to focus efforts on the west coast cult classic Jurassic 5.

A revolving door of band mates has not stopped this group from producing solid albums. Even though Embrace the Chaos hit stores on September 11, 2001, it still won a Grammy for Best Latin/Alternative Album. The band repeated the feat a few years later with their 2005 release Street Signs.
This California-based ensemble has performed all over the world. Stateside, they have played Bonnaroo, Coachella and South by Southwest a few times. No stranger to political activism in their music, the band rocked a protest outside the 2000 Democratic National Convention with Rage Against the Machine.

They've also made it into the pop scene. Ozomatli jams "Cumbia de los Muertos" in Drew Barrymore's Never Been Kissed. If you're a fan of Showtime's "Weeds" you might have heard Ozomatli's version of the show's "Little Boxes" theme song. They even wowed the studio audience and viewers at home on "Dancing with the Stars."

Next week will be a closer look at Ozomatli's albums and all the music styles they embrace. Until then, look it up on your own, lazybutt!

-DJ Gringuito

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Daddy el Conquistador

Daddy Yankee wants more. The man has already conquered Latin America and the United States, but that's not enough for him.

According to Univision, the Puerto Rican reggaetonero is ready to take over Europe and Asia. The report says that "the planets are aligning for something big this year." Daddy Yankee has already toured a little around Europe, but now he's ready to have a firm presence in the continent.

Meanwhile, Yankee has been busy in Haiti. No, he's not producing a Spanish-language version of "We Are the World." He's actually helping the Red Cross to rebuild schools. This is the best news to come from the Daddy Yankee camp since his endorsement of John McCain for President. Oh, you didn't know? Well have a laugh.

Here's hoping he avoids Parliament,
DJ Grnguito

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I will admit that I have never seen Manu Chao perform live in concert. Until I'm lucky enough to do so, I'll have to settle for Baionarena. And that's fine with me.

This live CD/DVD combo is incredible! Released at the end of December '09, it didn't make its way onto my iPod until this past winter season. How did so much time pass before I found this?!?

Regardless of how long it took me to find this Holy Grail of live Manu Chao, I've already played it enough to make up for lost time. The album was recorded at a sold-out arena in Bayonne, France, and it perfectly captures and the fun-loving, crowd-pleasing, language-mixing style of Manu.

If you're still unaffected by this Manu Chao nonsense that I'm always writing about, check out these clips from the DVD. The man is an entertainer unbound by nationalities and ethnicities.

Paz y Amor,
DJ Gringuito

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Shameless Self Promotion!

Oye! Radio Chevere is setting a course for the vast sea of social media. So hop on board and help out, because I can't just rely on the motion of the ocean.

I've created a Twitter account. Initially, all the tweets will be reposts of older blog entries. But once everything is all caught up, I'll be tweeting my canción del día (song of the day).

There is also an idea in the works to branch out to the greater Athens community. Until then, tell anybody who cares about Spanish, music, Spanish music or who is simply desperate for another follower on Twitter.

Soy emocionado!
DJ Gringuito

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

RIP Sandro de America

There is sad news from the Spanish music community. Sandro de America, the Argentine Elvis, is dead at the age of 64. Just over a week ago, the first man to break Spanish music into the U.S. pop scene died from complications after surgery.

I found his obituary while browsing the web for story ideas for my foreign correspondence class. Once I saw it, I knew this was perfect for Radio Chevere. The man embodied chevere, but until last week I had no idea who he was. Allow me to share...

Born Roberto Sanchez, Sandro began his music career with Los de Fuego in the 1960s. After taking over as frontman, Sandro and his Elvis-like swivel and charm made him a superstar.

By 1970, this Argentine rock 'n' roll legend had filled Madison Square Garden five times. One of the performances was the first concert ever to be broadcast via satellite. Obviously, the transmission was sent back to Argentina.

Just like his North American doppelganger, Sandro used his stardom to make a presence on the silver screen. The roles weren't award-winning, but that didn't turn away his worshipping fans.

Upon word of his Sandro's death, fans took to the streets mourning the loss together. Here's a look at some of the photos from his funeral service attended by tens of thousands:

Roberto "Sandro" Sanchez: August 19, 1945 - January 4, 2010

Duerme con angeles,
DJ Gringuito

Sunday, January 10, 2010

El Regreso

Radio Chevere is back! After a 7-week hiatus, it's time for more of the Spanish music culture that you've missed so much. Before any candid anecdotes are told or informative posts are written, I want to say a few words.

I've covered plenty of artists since starting this blog, but I've neglected the fans. Sure, I'm a fan of all the Spanish-speaking world has to offer. It might seem that I'm writing about a culture completely disconnected from Southeastern Ohio, but that's not true. So expect an occasional interview a with Spanish music fan.

Next up is... well, that's it actually. I hope that reading about someone else's experience with Spanish music will spark an interest of your own. But I'll stop babbling because there are still several music styles and hundreds of artists to cover.

Good to be back,
DJ Gringuito